The unanimous declaration approved in June 2006 in Riga by representatives of all EU member states set the scene for an ambitious series of commitments. The Riga Ministerial Conference kick started a large awareness raising process through which governments, industry and civil society realized they had to optimize their synergies for, as Mrs. Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media said, " eInclusion is good for business, business is good for e-Inclusion " .
Awareness raising has been recognized as an extremely important component within the e-inclusion. It should be directed towards all actors within the society: general population, enterprises, public institutions. Everybody should be made aware that in today's knowledge based society however, digital technologies represent a gateway to economic and social development, and without it their future potential is limited.
Government and the public sector should show leadership in provision of compelling, valued and trustworthy online services. The knowledge society has the same potential to bring profound change in the relationship between public authorities and citizens. Also the SMEs, that are the engine of a country and which leg behind the big enterprises in using ICT, should become aware that the ICT is an enabler of innovation and productivity improvements, which in turn have a positive impact on economic performance.
The citizens need to know that in order to be an active member of society in the EU today, it is now essential not only to have access to advanced electronic networks, but also to have the capability to use these networks for online services, e-Commerce, communication, social networking, and so on. Access is a prerequisite but capacity and motivation are the bigger barriers. Research shows that the main reason for not having internet in the home is the perceived lack of need (38%). For some, the decision of not using the internet is sometimes caused by the ignorance of the concrete benefits they could get from it more than any other reason.
In order to address these issues, the awareness raising activities within the project will have two aspects. One will focus media campaign educating general public, as well as public and private sector representatives about the benefits and necessity of digital literacy, and explaining all myths and truths related to computers, internet (un)safety issues and ways for protection in order to help citizens overcome the perceived barriers to adoption of ICT skills. Another aspect of the campaign will focus on special events that would promote e-skills, internet safety, and ICT literacy. The events that will be organised (e-Skills Week, Safer Internet Day, Grandparent - Grandchild IT Dream Team Competition) will draw attention of the audience to the importance of a digital inclusion in an entertaining and engaging way.